When Paul Fallen realised he was never going to fall in love with his career in life sciences, he decided to make his love of home brewed beer into his career….
What did you do before you started this business?
I was in the life science sector, starting life as a research scientist for various academic institutions and biotech companies then moving into sales and marketing positions.
My last ‘real’ job was a marketing manager for an Oxford-based genetics company.
I decided It was time for a change. I enjoyed life science but was never really passionate about it. I wanted a new challenge and to let as many people as possible drink the beer I was making (and loving) at home.
Tell us about your business in 100 words
Fallen Brewing has been operational since 2014 in The Old Engine Shed at the old Kippen Railway Station in Stirlingshire. We currently run a brew plant with 10BBL capacity (3000 pint per batch) and have released nearly thirty different beers since starting up. We focus on quality and innovation with all cask, keg, bottle and now can production being done on-site with our own equipment.
Approximately 80% of our output is sold in Scotland with 20% being sent to distributors in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. We supply over 300 accounts across Scotland with revenue growing by at least 100% for the last three years. We work hard to be as environmentally-friendly as possible.
How would you describe your business to your grandma?
We love brewing and drinking the beer we make ourselves so much, we thought other people might want to drink it too. And guess what…? They even buy it from us!
Where do you get advice, support or help?
Scottish Enterprise were really helpful during the start-up of the business and have provided plenty of ongoing support. Our accountants Campbell Dallas have also been consistently helpful. The brewing community is very inclusive so there are always people out there you can talk to about general or specific issues that arise.
Finance is one of the most common barriers to starting up. How did you access the finance you needed?
It wasn’t particularly easy securing the start-up funding we needed to get the project off the ground. The banks were particularly unhelpful and we had to look hard to find asset financing companies. In the end we secured most of the funding from personal funds, private equity from friends and family and a small amount of asset financing.
What has been your biggest achievement so far?
Every day brings a new challenge. We’re really pleased with the growth we’ve experienced so far. Our biggest achievement is probably taking the leap of faith to invest in our own canning line and seeing the product gain so much traction in the market in a short space of time.
How do you differentiate your business from others?
I’m not sure there is space to truly differentiate ourselves from so many other great breweries in the world. We focus on making the best beer we possibly can (using the best ingredients and investing in the right equipment to control the process exactly the way we want), we work hard to make sure the customer experience is excellent (whether this is our trade customers or the ultimate consumers of the beer) and we use as many marketing tools as we can to get our message out there.
What’s it like to be your own boss?
Fantastic and stressful in equal measures.
Where do you see your business in 5 years’ time?
We would like to distribute our beers worldwide and get our product out to as many like-minded people as possible. Our production and distribution will always be done against a backdrop of uncompromising quality (which inevitably comes with a price-tag). The only compromise we’ll accept is that we probably won’t appeal to the most price-sensitive consumers.
What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
Have faith in your product or idea. Plan your project/business meticulously and work hard to execute your plans to the best of your abilities. Don’t look back with regret.